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Insider's Tips On Getting from Houston to the Galveston Port

10 Jun 2015

One of the biggest issues cruising Royal Caribbean from Galveston is simply getting from Houston's airports to the cruise port. To help readers out, we've asked an expert -- our friend from -- to share some details on what travelers should know about getting to and from the port.

Let's put it up front: Unless you have a really good friend in Houston, there just isn't a cheap way for cruisers to get to Galveston from the airports. Every option is going to cost at least $150 round trip (for two passengers) and take at least an hour.

You can save some money, however, if you pick the appropriate mode of transportation for the number of people in your group. We usually suggest one of three ways: a cruise line shuttle, an independent shuttle, or a private car service.

Cruise lines shuttles offer the most convenience. You can buy a ticket when you book your cruise and don't have to get a ride from a third party. However, you will pay for that convenience.

Royal Caribbean charges $77 round trip per person from Hobby and $92 per person from Bush Intercontinental (IAH). If you're traveling solo or as a couple, you aren't likely to beat these prices. Larger groups, however, may wish to find a cheaper option.

A number of independent shuttles have popped up in recent years, usually offering a less expensive way to the port if traveling with a larger group. These shuttles almost always charge a higher cost for the first passenger, but a much smaller fee for each additional person.

For example, Cool Tours in Galveston offers a shuttle from Hobby Airport for $180 round trip for the first passenger, but only $30 for another rider. If you're traveling in a large group, the savings per person add up quickly.

Finally, there are a number of private car services that can provide a ride. A quick Google search will bring up dozens of options. Prices can range from $150 to several hundred dollars, depending on which you go with and what sort of car you'd like to pick you up.

One tip -- be sure to always get an "out the door" price on the car service before you book so there are no surprises. We suggest private car services for those wanting a little more privacy and comfort than riding in a shuttle van or charter bus.

As we said, no matter how you plan to get there, expect to pay a decent sum to get to your cruise. We have more details about all your options for getting from the Houston airports to the Galveston port (including taxis, car rentals, and ride-share services) on


Royal Caribbean announces New York and Galveston deployments for 2015-2016

17 Apr 2014

Royal Caribbean announced today its plans for cruise ships sailing out of Galveston, Texas and the New York area.  

Royal Caribbean re-confirmed Liberty of the Seas will sail out of Cape Liberty in summer 2015 as well as confirming that Navigator of the Seas will remain in Galveston, Texas to offer seven-night cruises throughout summer 2015.

By winter 2015-2016, Anthem of the Seas will replace Liberty of the Seas in offering cruises out of Cape Liberty.  In turn, Liberty of the Seas will head to Galveston to offer weekly Caribbean cruises there.  Finally, Navigator of the Seas will sail six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale.

Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa in winter 2015-16.

Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas’ 2015-16 cruise seasons are now open for booking.

Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members have the exclusive privilege to book Anthem of the Seas’ winter 2015-16 season starting April 25, 2014, in advance of the general opening to the public on April 29. 

Oil spill in Galveston delays Navigator of the Seas

23 Mar 2014

A 160,000 gallon oil spill near Galveston, Texas is delaying cruise ships coming and going to the cruise port, including Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.

The collision between a barge and another vessel Saturday near the Texas City Dike spilled 160,000 gallons of heavy oil into Galveston Bay and has forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Houston Ship Channel.

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas was scheduled to arrive early this morning and let off its passengers while allowing new ones to board but it remains stuck outside the harbor.  

Passenger Jonathan Spoon is aboard the ship and told the Galveston Daily News, "We are being told they are conducting a flyover to see if the ship can make its way into the port (of Galveston) without going through the oil.  There are lots of ships parked all around us. So far no problems on the boat."

He said Royal Caribbean reopened many of the ships restaurants and onboard activities to keep the passengers comfortable. 

Royal Caribbean has not commented on the situation yet, but is monitoring it.

Royal Caribbean signs five-year deal with Galveston

28 Jan 2014

Royal Caribbean has reached a deal with the Port of Galveston, Texas for a five-year agreement after the Port of Galveston’s governing board approved the deal on Monday.

The deal will generate a minimum of $1.86 million in annual operating revenues for the public docks.

In addition, the deal requires making about $10 million in improvements to the port's Cruise Terminal No. 2.

Royal Caribbean currently operates Navigator of the Seas out of Galveston although Royal Caribbean did promise to bring a larger cruise ship to the port if the improvements made to Cruise Terminal No. 2 are completed.

Port Director Michael Mierzwa believes they can borrow enough to cover an estimated $10 million in improvements Royal Caribbean has requested, he said. 

The agreement differs from the now-expired arrangement Royal Caribbean forged with the port in 2007. Unlike the previous agreement, Royal Caribbean chose to guarantee a yearly minimum revenue based upon a Voyager-class vessel making 19 calls to the port, rather than the guaranteed 25 calls a year under the expired agreement, Mierzwa said.  

Royal Caribbean agreed to an additional 30 calls in both 2014 and 2015, essentially committing to a year-round vessel in both years with a promise to bring a larger vessel to Galveston next year if improvements were made to the Cruise Terminal No. 2, which has accommodated smaller passenger liners in the past.

Texas to add new cruise tax on cruises out of Galveston in 2014

21 Dec 2013

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) will begin collecting personal importation taxes on alcohol and cigarettes from passengers returning from cruises in Galveston in 2014.  Royal Caribbean operates Navigator of the Seas currently out of Galveston.

Beginning on January 4, 2014, cruise travelers disembarking out of Galveston will need to pay the tax for alcoholic beverages and cigarettes imported into the state that were purchased either on the ship's duty free store or at a foreign port of call. 

During the recent legislative session, the agency was appropriated funding to begin tax collection of imported alcoholic beverages and cigarettes from seaport facilities. The Galveston Port facility will be the first seaport location where this tax will be collected with plans to extend to the Houston-Bayport facility in the fall of 2014.

Tax collection points staffed with TABC personnel will be situated at both terminals 1 and 2 at the Galveston facility located where patrons come through the U.S. Customs secondary checkpoint. Passengers will be able to pay the taxes with either cash or credit cards.

TABC personnel have worked with Port of Galveston officials to ensure that the tax collection is done efficiently and with limited disruption of port operations and delays to the passengers.

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas to sail out of Galveston

30 Apr 2013

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas will call Galveston, Texas year-round starting in the winter of 2013, after she undergoes a refurbishment.

Navigator of the Seas will offer seven-night western Caribbean cruises after she enters drydock in February 2014 as part of Royal Caribbean's effort to update every cruise ship in the fleet.  

During Navigator of the Seas' time in drydock, she will receive

  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Park Café
  • Izumi Asian Cuisine
  • Virtual Balconies for select interior staterooms
  • New panoramic oceanview staterooms – featuring full-length, floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Outdoor oversized movie screen overlooking the main pool
  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • New Diamond Lounges for suite and Crown & Anchor Society members
  • Cupcake Cupboard
  • WiFi throughout the ship
  • flat-panel televisions in all staterooms
  • interactive signage

Royal Caribbean executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Lisa Bauer, commented on the news, "We are thrilled to be homeporting Navigator of the Seas, with her new enhancements and first at-sea amenities year-round in Galveston. As part of our commitment to delivering the most innovative and contemporary vacation experiences to guests, the iconic FlowRider, as well as the new Virtual Balconies, will be among a new range of amenities being introduced aboard the Voyager class of ships – making every ship our best ship. These exciting and unmatched onboard amenities on Navigator of the Seas, offer adventurous family vacationers many opportunities to be WOW’ed in ways that only Royal Caribbean can deliver.”

Two of the new features, the virtual balconies and panoramic oceanview staterooms, are features that Royal Caribbean is "live testing" aboard Navigator of the Seas to get the technology ready for Quantum of the Seas, which will be under construction at the time.

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